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Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah is a National Park is the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern Virginia.  The park is long and narrow, composed of land surrounding the 105-mile Skyline Drive.

Directions:

Map:


Hiking:

Fox Hollow Trail:

Length: 1.2 miles (loop)

Difficulty: Easy

Fox Hollow Nature Trail is an easy 1.2-mile self-guided interpretive trail.  Guides for the trail are available at the visitor centers and at the trailhead.  The trailhead is right across Skyline Drive from the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center.  Going left, to hike the circuit in a clockwise direction, the trail runs though an open wildflower meadow along Skyline Drive and then heads into the woods.  Along the way, the trail passes old rock piles, an old homestead, and a cemetery for the Fox family who had lived in the area before it was a park.

Keyser Run Fire Road:

Keyser Run Fire Road is a gated gravel road that is open to hiking.  The trail starts at the Keyser Run Trailhead off Skyline Drive at mile post 19.4.  In about a mile, the trail crosses Fourway, where Little Devil Stairs Trail splits to the left.  Continuing on, the trail goes down, roughly parallel to Keyser Run and Little Devil Stairs.  The terminus of the trail is at the Little Devil Stairs Parking at the end of Route 614.  Along the way, the trail passes the Bolen Cemetery.  This trail can be used to make a circuit hike with Little Devil Stairs Trail.

Little Devil Stairs Trail:

Little Devil Stairs Trail starts at the parking lot at the end of Route 614, right at the park boundary.  From here, the trail crosses a creek and goes through Little Devil Stairs.  There are countless stairs, stream crossings, and rock scrambles as the trail leads up through the area and then ends at the Fourway at Keyser Run Fire Road.

Waterfalls:

Little Devil Stairs Waterfall:

Waterfall on Little Devil Stairs is a small 12-foot waterfall on Keyser Run at the top of Little Devil Stairs.  To visit the waterfall, park at the Keyser Run Trailhead at mile post 19.4 on Skyline Drive.  Hike about a mile down Keyser Run Fire Road to Fourway and turn left on Little Devil Stairs Trail.  The waterfall will be on the left in less than a mile, just before the trail descends into Little Devil Stairs.  Alternately, you can park at Little Devil Stairs Trailhead at the end of Route 614.  Hike the Little Devil Stairs trail up to the top of Little Devil Stairs and the waterfall will be on the right, just before the trail turns left and levels off.

Overall Run Falls:

Overall Run Falls is the highest waterfall in the park at 93 feet.  During the summer, the water flow can dry up to not much more than a trickle.  If you visit during such times, as we did, the stunning view from the overlook makes up for the rather pitiful waterfall.  I'll need to visit again in the spring or after a good rain for a better photo of this one.

To visit the falls, park at the entrance to Matthews Arm Campground.  Hike along the Traces Trail to Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail and follow to a cliff overlook to view the waterfall.  If you're camping at Matthews Arm, you can pick up Matthews Arm Trail at the far end of loop B and take this to Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail.  Alternately, if the campground is closed, you can park along Skyline Drive at mile post 21.1 and hike the Appalachian Trail southbound to Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail for a 6 mile round trip.

Skyline Drive:

Skyline Drive is a scenic highway that runs through the park for 105 miles.  There about 75 scenic overlooks to stop at and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.  The mile posts start from the north end and work their way south.

Gimlet Ridge Overlook

Mount Marshall Overlook

Little Hogback Overlook

Little Devil Stairs Overlook

Little Devil Stairs Overlook is right past mile post 20 on the east side of Skyline Drive.  The overlook provides views into the Little Devil Stairs canyon and there is a lone dead tree standing sentinel right at the overlook.

Hogback Overlook

Hogback Overlook is right at mile post 21 on the west side of Skyline Drive.

Rattlesnake Point Overlook

Rattlesnake Point Overlook is near mile post 22 on the east side of Skyline Drive.

Tunnel Parking Overlook

Photos:

Videos:

Here's a video I made from our trip in August 2014 to the park:

Blog Entries:

01-03Aug2014: Shenandoah Trip

External Links:

National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/shen/index.htm

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